Briefs on all things happening in Georgia banking this week.
Briefs on all things happening in Georgia banking this week.
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April 19, 2024

Security Conference Covers All the Bases

This year’s Bank Security Conference wrapped up last week. A big thank-you to committee Chair Melissa Dasher, SouthState Bank, Vice Chair Scott Jackson, First Laurens Bank, and the entire GBA Security Committee for crafting an event full of valuable intel for the pros protecting member bank customers, employees and assets. Here’s a rundown of the highlights.
Day One: Strengthening Security Protocols. Our pre-conference workshops covered security officer roles, board reporting, and procedure reviews. And, exhibitors showcased cutting-edge solutions in technology and security equipment.
Day Two: Nurturing Mental Health, Robbery Response and AI. Sessions featured discussions on mental health stressors, emergency response planning for bank robberies, cyber fraud and the dual nature of Artificial Intelligence in banking security. There was also a robust peer roundtable session.
Day Three: Big Picture Topics. Sessions included an industry and advocacy update, elder fraud awareness update, robbery and ATM theft trends.
Thanks also to our Wellness Gold Sponsor SentryHealth and exhibitors Abram Armored, Bankpak, Cash Transactions LLC, Consolidated Banking Services Inc., Convergint, Southern Bank Equipment & ATMs, and STS Group Inc.
Marshall Bunce

GBA Member Profile

From Marketing Intern to IT Head - Marshall Bunce’s Banking Journey

In our latest Member Profile, Marshall Bunce, IT manager and vice president American Pride Bank, Macon, shares about his journey into the banking industry. With a degree in business marketing and a minor in information technology, his passion for marketing led him to an internship at Security Bank, which sparked his interest in banking. Despite the challenges faced during the economic downturn in 2007-08, Bunce found his place in banking, moving from internet banking into treasury and eventually IT. Known for his customer service-oriented approach, Bunce emphasizes the importance of being adaptable and customer-focused in the industry. Outside of the bank, he enjoys riding his Indian motorcycle, escaping to his boat or tractor, and embracing smart home technology. Read more in his full GBA Member Profile.
About GBA Member Profiles: GBA is proud to showcase the diverse talents and experiences of our members. If you would like to recommend a member banker for a profile, please contact Katina Prokos.

Rep. Buddy Carter Recognizes Brannen in U.S. House

We appreciate U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA 1) for making a special effort to recognize Joe Brannen’s 44-year career and his positive impact on members as GBA’s president and CEO during a speech to the U.S. House of Representatives Thursday. “Joe is a trusted advisor, a thoughtful leader and respected friend to many. In short, Joe is one of the good guys,” Carter said. See the whole speech here. “Buddy has been a good friend for many years from his time as a bank director to serving in the Georgia General Assembly and now in Congress. We are fortunate to have people like Buddy stepping up to serve us all,” Brannen said in response to the honor.

Atlanta FDIC Webinar April 23

Focus on CRE Lending Risks, Liquidity, Cybersecurity, Accounting and More

Members with FDIC as your principal federal regulator are encouraged to sign up for the FDIC Atlanta Regional Office’s Division of Risk Management Supervision’s Regional Regulatory Webinar that is Tuesday, April 23, from 1:30-3 p.m. Topics will include capital markets (liquidity), cybersecurity/IT, accounting hot topics, CRE trends and check fraud, with a Q&A session to follow the presentations. Get all the details and register here.

How one Member Bank Turbocharged Engagement

Oconee State Bank and its efforts to boost employee engagement are featured on the latest update of the ABA Banking Journal Podcast. Bank President and CEO Neal Stevens is featured on the episode. He shares the story ofhow the bank’s intentional work to strengthen its culture has boosted employee engagement to 89%, which is three times the national average. Get more details and listen here.

Check Fraud Case Study

How Signature Bank of Georgia Enhanced Fraud Detection and Check Imaging with Abrigo

Like many community banks, Signature Bank of Georgia has faced challenges in detecting and preventing fraud. The bank felt that the fraud prevention options offered by its core processor, such as positive pay and other basic features, didn’t fulfill the need for a robust fraud detection solution that specifically addressed check fraud. The bank ultimately chose GBA partner Abrigo for its adaptable, innovative technological capabilities that combat new fraud schemes as they come. Abrigo's BAM+ provides banks with end-to-end AML case management that is configurable for its unique clients, risk profile, tolerance levels, location and needs. When it comes to the problem of check fraud, Abrigo Fraud Detection leverages AI check image analysis to detect anomalies and streamline decision-making workflows, strengthening a bank's defenses against fraud. Read a recently published case study about Signature Bank’s decision to work with Abrigo. And remember, GBA members get a 15% discount on any new Abrigo solution they implement.

Beige Book

Pricing Pressures Easing, Housing Supply up, Modest Economic Growth

There are some interesting nuggets in the most recent Beige Book report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  • Go Housing: More existing homes are on the market and new subdivisions came on line.

  • HELOCs Shine: While most lending was flat, banks reported stronger home equity line openings.

  • Prices Moderate: Prices for transportation and commodities including lumber and steel held steady or fell, and pressure to increase wages eased.

  • Milk: In the ag sector, milk is plentiful, leading to lower prices. Overall dairy demand is growing.

Crime and Punishment

Hefty Fine and Prison for Douglas Man Convicted of Covid-19 Relief Fraud

Kyle Waldron, 59, of Douglas, was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison and ordered to pay more than $1.3 million in restitution for fraudulently obtaining funds intended to help businesses struggling financially during the pandemic. Waldren submitted at least 20 different PPP or EIDL applications on behalf of multiple businesses and individuals. Read more here.

New Leadership Resource

Special Teams Pricing Available for New Bank Executive Academy

The best leaders in our industry possess skills in strategic leadership, effective people management, and a profound understanding of a bank’s financial workings. Recognizing that these skills are not innate to everyone, GBA has partnered with GoalMakers to offer the Bank Executive Academy. The next cohort of the program begins June 12.
What You’ll Gain: The Bank Executive Academy equips you with the knowledge, tools, and community needed to excel as a manager and continue growing as a leader within your bank. The curriculum, based on an executive MBA but tailored for banking leaders, spans 10 weeks.
This unique learning experience combines self-paced, engaging e-learning that fits into your full-time role, with live expert-led sessions alongside bank leaders from across the country. This format allows you to learn with peers and subject matter experts, enhancing your understanding and application of key concepts.
Special Teams Pricing: Banks signing up three or more staff members can take advantage of special team pricing. Apart from the financial savings, we've observed fantastic outcomes when teams join together, developing a shared language of leadership and the ability to implement these learnings for real-time impact.
It's the perfect opportunity to elevate yourself and your managers to prepare them for success! Get details and register here.

2024 Rural Development and Lending Conference
Economic Panel Discussion

Kicking off this year's Rural Development and Lending Conference will be an Economic Development Panel Discussion. Matt Rushton, AB&T, will moderate our panel with: Dorie Bacon, Georgia Department of Economic Development; Tommy Lowmon, Division Director, Georgia Department of Community Affairs; Benjy Thompson, Development Authority of Bulloch County.
The conference is coming up soon on May 16-17 at the King & Prince on St. Simons. It has been planned by GBA’s Agriculture Committee, Matt Rushton, AB&T, chair, and Jake Cleghorn, Atlamaha Bank & Trust Company, vice chair.
More Agenda Highlights: Sessions about crops and how climate and wildlife are affecting Georgia agribusinesses.
Get all the details and register here. Thank you to our Platinum Sponsor: CSRA Business Lending and Silver Sponsor: Point to Point Environmental.

New marketing webinar!
Blending Marketing and Technology for New Levels of Success, May 14

Get ready for an exciting webinar tailored for marketing professionals, executives, and operations audiences. Trent Fleming, CEO, Trent Fleming Consulting, will delve deep into the relationship between marketing and operations and provide you with solid ideas that you can put to work at your bank. You'll learn:
  • Smart growth concepts
  • Enhancing your online presence
  • Leveraging data to improve messaging and the customer experience.

Two Seats Left!

Last chance to enroll!

GBA Compliance School - Now Offering Year 1 and Year 2 Simultaneously

Looking to strengthen your compliance skills and advance your banking career? GBA’s Compliance School will prepare you for what’s next. Here are five reasons to enroll:
  1. Comprehensive curriculum: Check out the curriculum for Year 1 and Year 2.
  2. Expert faculty: Click here to see your 2024 GBA Compliance School Faculty.
  3. Career advancement
  4. Personal growth
  5. Compliance connections.
GBA’s Compliance School is April 28 - May 3 at the University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education and Hotel in Athens. Enroll today for career growth, personal growth, and an added value to your institution. With questions, contact Aimee Corcoran, 404.420.2035.

GBA Partner Bank Marketing Center

Free Webinar - May 2 @ 2 p.m. - Social Media, What’s New and What’s Next?

Register at the link below to join GBA partner Bank Marketing Center and their special guest Eric Cook to explore new trends and opportunities on social media platforms. Cook spent 15 years as a a community banker before becoming an expert digital strategist and three-time contributing author to the best-selling “Digital Minds” book series. He is a faculty member for several state and national banking schools, his engaging teaching style, passion for community banking, and deep understanding of digital trends have made him a popular voice for innovation in the banking industry. Join us as we explore innovative strategies that will help take your social media efforts to the next level with creative image and video creation capabilities. Click here to register.

Annual Meeting Session Spotlight

Speaker Burns, Other State Elected Leaders to Share Stage

We're honored that Georgia House Speaker Jon Burns and several other members of the Georgia General Assembly will be joining us for a general session conversation during our annual meeting coming up June 19-11. Also joining us will be Senate President Pro Tem John Kennedy, Sen. Carden Summers, who chairs the Senate Bananking & Financial Institutions Committee, Rep. Bruce Williamson, who chairs the House Republican Caucus, and Rep. Noel Williams, who Chairs the House Banks & Banking Committee. Click here to access the event website, a detailed agenda, register, and more. Space is still available at the Ritz beginning June 9. If you're interested in staying Saturday night, June 8, go ahead and book for June 9 and email GBA’s Kathy Friestad to be waitlisted for a Saturday arrival. Exhibit space is now full. Sponsorships are still available; click here for info. Contact Kathy Friestad with questions.
Jon Burns

Save the date!

BSA Peer Group Meeting, Virtual Session, June 6

Registration will open soon for our next BSA Peer Group Meeting. Join GBA's BSA Summit lead facilitator, Kristen Stogniew, from the comfort of your office. Registrants will be able to submit industry hot topics during the registration process to discuss during the meeting. With questions, contact Aimee Corcoran, 404.420.2035.

Save the date!

Inaugural Internal Audit Peer Group Meeting, Macon, June 18

Our peer groups are growing! Registration will open soon for our first ever Internal Audit Peer Group meeting on June 18 at Idle Hour Golf & Country Club in Macon. Darren Shuster with Crowe LLP and Mike Thomas will facilitate the meeting covering industry hot topics. With questions, contact Aimee Corcoran, 404.420.2035.

Vital Info for Cybersecurity Pros
ISO 101 Seminar - June 5 at MGSU in Macon

Join IT security experts Emily Strickland and Paige Hembree, Safe Systems, on June 5 in Macon at Middle Georgia State University. Strickland and Hembree will take a deep dive into the exam expectations and provide the tools and skills information security officers need to succeed in this critical role. Get all the details and register here.
Emily Strickland
Paige Hembree

Entrepreneur and TV Personality Kim Gravel to Close Women in Banking Conference

Kim Gravel is an entrepreneur, TV personality, public speaker and industry leader, but most of all she has a passion for people and seeing them rise. That’s why we’re so excited to announce that Kim will be the closing speaker at our Women in Banking Conference this summer. When Gravel joins us Aug. 15-16 at Chateau Elan Winery & Resort in Braselton, she’ll share stories about how she developed her businesses and has been successful in her various professional/entrepreneurial adventures, and she’ll also remind us to “remember our purpose.” Women bankers, GBA Associate Members, bank accountants, and bank attorneys, don’t miss this session! PLUS! Gravel going to bring a copy of her book, “Collecting Confidence,” for every attendee to take home! She will be on hand after her talk to sign your copy. Click here to register. The room block at Chateau Elan is open; click here for reservations info.
Thanks to these associate members who are sponsoring:
  • Gold Sponsor: McNair, McLemore, Middlebrooks & Co., LLC
  • Silver Sponsors: Carr, Riggs & Ingram, CPAs and Advisors; CRS Data; Elliott Davis; FHLBank Atlanta; Mauldin & Jenkins, LLC; Troutman Pepper; and Wipfli.
Sponsorships are still available – click here for details and to reserve! Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad with questions.

Registration Open!

Compliance Alliance – Question of The Week

Question: Can a line of credit be a community development loan for CRA purposes?
Answer: The CRA Reporting Guide suggests that, so long as the loan qualifies for the applicable reporting category, (i.e., community development, small business, or small farm), the bank is permitted to report lines of credit, as suggested by the CRA Reporting Guide. See the source reference on p. 48.

Did You Know?

Did you know that there are four (4) pillars to a Cybersecurity program?
  1. Policies and identification of the internal and external risks.
  2. Protection of business operations from damage or loss using technology and in-house security.
  3. Detection and identifying occurrences of cyber threats including educating staff to recognize risks.
  4. Response and recovery to restore any services that were damaged during an attack.
Live Demo Signups for Compliance Alliance:

Webinars - Great for Fundamentals Training

10 Ways Your Teller can Prevent Check Fraud, Lending 101, Opening New Accounts and More

Here’s a sampling of upcoming webinars.
Want to see the full webinar schedule? Check out our webinar calendar for a full list of upcoming webinars.

Last Day for Special Webinar Pricing

Through April 19, members can take advantage of a special promotion: Buy two webinars and get one free.
Promotion Details:
  • Discount: Buy 2, Get 1 Free (discount applied on the lowest priced item)
  • Promo Code: SpringStockUpB2G1
  • Timing: April 8-19, 2024
Please note that this promotion is not eligible with webinar subscription tokens or on webinar subscription service token packages.

Recruit, Retain and Develop the Best Bankers with GBA Career Solutions

GBA Job Bank
GBA will post open positions, free of charge, for GBA members. See the open positions in Georgia here. We will also post professional summaries for bank-job seekers on our Bankers Available page. To make the process easy and answer any questions, we've developed this Q&A. Please contact Katina Prokos, 404.420.2021.
Why Do People Choose Careers in Banking?
Whatever their talents, interests and educational background, there is a career in banking for them. Here are few good reasons to share with folks you know.

GBA Community Connections

We want to share all the good work GBA member banks, bankers, Associate Members and Bank Counsel Section members do to support their communities. Here's our latest installment:

Bainbridge - First Port City Bank
The bank celebrated Medical Laboratory Professionals Week by treating the lab staff at Memorial Hospital and Manor to Chick-Fil-A breakfast.
Blairsville - River City Bank
The bank’s Blairsville team recently volunteered with Goodies from the Heart, a local non-profit organization that provides weekend meals to more than 220 Union County students.
Blairsville - United Community Bank
For Financial Literacy Month, bank team members have been visiting elementary schools across the Southeast to read "The Four Money Bears" by Mac Gardner, CFP® to first-grade students. This story teaches children about spending, saving, investing and giving.
Hawkinsville - Planters First Bank
Bank team members Bobbie Clemons, Lina Jones and Tracy NeSmith did a financial literacy presentation on managing money and understanding credit with seniors at Hawkinsville High School.
First Port City Bank
River City Bank
United Community Bank
Planters First Bank

GBA Newsmakers

Check out these Georgia bankers and members making news this week:

Atlanta - Georgia Primary Bank
Congratulations to David Coxon, president and CEO, who was recognized this week for 50 years of service to the industry during a reception for shareholders, customers and community leaders after its shareholder meeting this week. We appreciate being invited to participate.
Bainbridge - First National Bank
President and CEO Brad Barber was recently appointed to the Southern Regional Technical College Board of Directors. Read more here.
Eastman - Magnolia State Bank
Keith Prather has joined the bank as a commercial lender.
Fitzgerald - Colony Bank
The bank’s Small Business Specialty Lending team received the Pacesetter Award from the Georgia SBA District Office.
Lawrenceville - Embassy National Bank
Ashley Ramos has joined the bank’s finance team as vice president and controller.
Sylvania - Farmers and Merchants Bank
Our sympathies to his colleagues and family of Board member and former President and CEO Jim Adams, who died recently. Long involved with GBA, Adams was a graduate of the Georgia Banking School and the Graduate School of Banking at LSU. More.
Woodstock - BankSouth Mortgage
The bank’s Woodstock team was named Best Mortgage Lender in the 2024 Best of Cherokee awards by readers of the Cherokee Tribune & Ledger News.
Atlanta - Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE)
Adam Foley has joined the company as Chief Credit Officer.
David Coxon
Georgia Primary Bank Chairman Boyd Petit, Joe Brannen and Meredith Weaver
Brad Barber
Keith Prather
Colony Bank
Ashley Ramos
Adam Foley

Read All About It: Send Us Your News

Please remember to include the Georgia Bankers Association on the list of recipients for announcements about promotions, new employees and special recognition your bank has received. We want to share your news with your colleagues across the state. Please forward your announcements and photos to GBA's David Oliver and Katina Prokos.
Webinars by topic:
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